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2010 Panel of Experts Stands Ready to Serve (Part 1 of 3)

This year’s contributors introduce themselves, describe their operations, identify challenges and list their accomplishments for 2009.Healthcare Laundry: Dianna Aracich, Wheeling Hospital, Wheeling, W.Va.
I manage the on-premise laundry (OPL) at Wheeling Hospital, one of the top-10-ranked hospitals in the country, an honor our CEO attributes to each and every employee.
Wheeling Hospital is the only area hospital still providing on-site laundry service. By having an OPL, I like to boast that our patients and staff have immediate access to fresh, clean and “never frozen” linen 24/7.
I may not bring an impressive title and credentials, but I do believe that my common-sense approach is as important as any other factor you can consider. I have more than 29 years of healthcare laundry experience, 15 of that as manager. I started as a dry-work finisher before moving to linen delivery, assistant manager, and in 1995 to manager.
I’ve experienced quite a few changes, some good and others that were merely passing trends. I’m a bit of a documentation pack rat; if my vice president calls seeking information on laundry poundage from 30 years ago, he’ll get that data and then some.
I’ve kept our laundry’s processing costs down and our replacement costs well below the national average. I’ve been able to consistently stay under budget, but I can’t take credit for this success by myself. What I will take credit for is having the good sense to surround myself with an exceptional staff.
We were processing more than 3 million pounds annually in 1995 before experiencing a freefall, which bottomed out at about 2.4 million pounds. We’ve since come under new management, and we processed more than 2.6 million pounds in 2009. We’re anticipating additional poundage from ongoing ventures.
We not only supply the main facility but also our Continuous Care Center, Wellness Center and several other affiliated hospitals, centers and clinics, along with physicians offices.
As with any OPL, our biggest challenge is the growing trend to outsource. Other challenges this year will include processing additional poundage from the new long-term acute-care facility coming to our sister hospital, plus a planned $50 million expansion on our main campus.
Everyone at Wheeling Hospital works as a team, with the No. 1 emphasis being to consistently improve patient care. We strive to provide the quality linen needed. If we spoil the staff in the process, we’re happy to do it. Our goal is to provide service at a better quality and lower cost than would be had with outsourcing.Hotel/Motel/Resort Laundry: Charles Loelius, The Pierre New York, New York
It’s an honor to be selected for this panel. I hope to share the benefit of my experience with you.
I’ve been in the commercial laundry industry for more than 25 years, having operated healthcare, hospitality and uniform plants throughout the United States. These laundries have ranged in size from 10 million to 40 million pounds annually, and have operated in both union and nonunion environments.
I have a wealth of experience in production, distribution and service management, as well as budget preparation and financial analysis — skills honed during seven years on Wall Street.
For the past five years, I’ve concentrated on the hospitality side of laundry management, operating OPLs for the Ritz-Carlton and Taj Hotels. Additionally, since 2004, I’ve served on the faculty of NYU [New York University], teaching laundry and drycleaning operations as part of the university’s Hospitality Management program.
As director of laundry services for The Pierre New York, a Taj Hotel, I’m responsible for the day-to-day service, production, distribution, maintenance, and procurement for this 5-star hotel’s laundry and drycleaning operations.
The biggest challenge I faced during 2009 was overseeing the design, rebuilding and reopening of the hotel’s laundry, to assure completion of the project on time and under budget. It had been closed for 18 months, part of a hotel-wide renovation. The laundry renovation included both the installation and removal of machinery, a daunting project to undertake in a 70-year-old historic building in Manhattan.
Going forward, the challenges I face at the Pierre are similar to the challenges faced by the entire industry: providing the best possible products and services at the lowest possible cost.Linen Supply/Commercial Laundry: Tamica Goree, Ph.D., STG Linen Services, Glendale, Ariz.
I’m the CEO of STG Linen Services. I received my doctorate in pathology from Indiana State University. After spending several years in the retail and clinical diagnostic fields, I decided to transition into the family business.
I’ve been working in the linen industry for the past 15 years, and I also work with research and development companies in creating environmentally friendly laundry chemicals and supplies.
I’m proud to say that STG Linen Services is a federally green-certified firm. We service hospitals, federal/municipal government facilities and restaurants. We also own and operate several Laundromats in Arizona and Nevada.
Our diverse market portfolio is a key challenge. We’re constantly transitioning, both mentally and operationally, between key industries (i.e. industrial/hazmat, hospitality, and food and beverage). While a challenge, this is also a competitive asset that allows us to remain viable in an unpredictable economy.
Another area of concern has been our customers’ financial stability. Several of our clients have either reduced their business significantly or closed their doors due to the drastic economic downturn.
Despite the challenges thrown at us, we’ve continued to thrive and grow in this unpredictable environment. We’ve been able to sustain job security for our staff — there have been no layoffs here.
Our focus this year and in coming years will be to remain flexible, efficient, and centered on using innovative and cost-efficient ways to operate our business and maintain its profitability.
It’s an honor to be selected to serve on the Panel of Experts.Our thanks go out to the 2009 Panel of Experts:

  • Rhonda Amendt, U.N.X. Inc.
  • Bill Blumel, Reliable Equipment & Engineering
  • Duane Farrington, Hancock County Laundry
  • David Gibson, ARAMARK Uniform Services
  • Dan Goldman, Wascomat Laundry Equipment
  • Tom Mara, Victor Kramer Co.
  • Bob Pfeifer, Sodexo Laundry Services
  • Albert Raymond, Healthcare Services Group

Click here for Part 2 of this story.Click here for Part 3 of this story.
 

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